A strenuous itinerary, suitable for well-trained cyclists. For those who are less fit, we suggest you take it slowly, maintaining a regular pace without tipping over the edge. The route covers 105 km, with a change in level of 1850 metres.
Starting from Riccione, you head towards Coriano. You then continue for Osteria Nuova and Mercatino Conca, from where you start riding up the Conca Valley, along tree-lined roads. You’re now at the 25-km mark and the road has been gently climbing for the last few kilometres. At 35 km, you arrive at Montecerignone, and continue towards Carpegna. The inclines leading to Carpegna range from 6% to 8%, but after the village the road climbs steeply up with an average gradient of 14%. You then face the 6-km climb towards Mount Cippo. If you decide to climb the mountain, the total route will become 125 km, with an overall 2600-metre change in level. The ascent is extremely hard. Remember, this was the Pirate’s favourite training-ground for the mountain stages of the Tour de France.
The average gradient on the hardest stretches is 14%, with just one more level section after 2 km. After you’ve reached the top, you then head back towards the Conca Valley, passing through Carpegna, Montecerignone and Mercatino Conca. The descent ends here, and you’ve completed 90 km (if you climbed Mount Cippo), 70 km if you gave it a miss. You start climbing again for 7 km towards San Marino, with an average gradient of 5%. When you get to the top, you then have about 25 km downhill or on the flat before reaching Riccione.
This is a very testing course even for the super-fit. We recommend a 39×26 set-up, or 39×25 at the most, to conserve the legs. Take a good stock of solid food to eat at intervals throughout the route, and some maltodextrin gel to prevent sudden falls in blood sugar levels during the hardest sections.